Legend vs. Legend: FanSince09 Interviews The Iron Sheik

Legend vs. Legend: FanSince09 Interviews The Iron Sheik

I love The Iron Sheik, and so do you.

Don’t even try to deny it.

If you were male and were born at any point during the 80s, you watched wrestling. No matter how sophisticated you like to think you are, you watched wrestling. Every Saturday, you tuned in for an hour of WWF Superstars. If you were allowed to stay up, you probably also watched Saturday Night’s Main Event. You bought all the merchandise. You had the magazines and posters. You most likely knocked a friend out cold by hitting him with one of those old school 8’ JLN action figures made out of solid, heavy rubber. And every few months, you’d go to the Spectrum for a House Show.

Before Monday Night RAW and monthly pay per views, the house show was king.  Title changes would rarely happen, but arenas would go nuts for the chance to see wrestling’s biggest names wrestle to count outs, no decisions and double disqualifications. We would go nuts for heroes like Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, but secretly, we were there to see the heels. We wanted to see the bad guys get the crowd fired up.  And in my opinion, which is always correct, there was no better wrestling heel than The Iron Sheik.

Waving the Iranian Flag and often accompanied by his Soviet partner, Nikolai Volkoff, Iron Sheik would infuriate crowds by demanding they stand for the Iranian (or Soviet) national anthem, followed by a declaration “Iran Number One!” and spitting on America. In the post- Iran Contra Reagan era, this was red meat to fans looking for someone to hate.

Fast-forward 30 years.  Long retired from wrestling, The Iron Sheik has reestablished himself as a more than a wrestling superstar; he’s evolved into a full-fledged Social Media Brand.  Instead of pissing off arenas full of fans, Sheik is now famous for calling out celebrities and giving his daily thoughts on sporting events, politics and life.  Kids who loved to hate him are now adults who can’t wait to see what he’ll say next.

Even a legendary WWE Champion needs some additional exposure and knowing that I’m the voice of our Fanbase, Sheik and his representatives reached out for an interview: legend on legend.  Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to ask the hard hitting questions that the Philadelphia fanbase demands.

Sheikybaby’s answers are in caps, per his request.

FanSince09: Growing up, I used to go to WWF house shows at the Philadelphia Spectrum, where you had many great matches.  Do you have any special memories of matches or moments you had in Philadelphia?

The Iron Sheik: I REMEMBER I WORK WITH THE SLAUGHTER IN THE SPECTRUM. WE MAKE A LOT OF NOISE AND STEAL THE SHOW. I WAS HOTTEST THING IN THE BUSINESS. ALSO I REMMEBER I ONCE BREAK THE BACK OF THE JABRONI TITO SANTANA

Philadelphia was the home of ECW, which pioneered the hardcore style of wrestling.  What are you feelings about ECW? Do you feel Extreme/Hardcore wrestling has helped or hurt the business?

THEY TRY HARD THE INTELLIGENT JEW MY GOOD FRIEND THE PAULY VERY SMART HE MAKE GOOD BUSINESS. BUT YOU SEE ONLY ONE EMPEROR OF ROME ONLY ONE KENNEDY MCMAHON. NOBODY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN MY #1 BOSS AND THE WWF OR WWE.

You were the greatest heel of all time.  Now that wrestling has moved away from colorful characters and gimmicks, do you think there will ever be a heel as hated as you were?  Who do you think is the best heel working today?

ONLY ONE IRON SHEIK ONLY ONE MUHAMMED ALI ONLY ONE MICHAEL JACKSON. MY TIME I MOST BELIEVABLE BECAUSE OF THE HOSTAGE SITUATION. YOU CANNOT TRY TO DO SAME THING AGAIN AND ALL TV NOT SURE WRESTLING CHANGE. TODAY I LOVE THE BROCK LESNAR I LOVE THE CM PUNK. THEY LOVE THE BUSINESS AND RESPECT THE LEGEND

The Philadelphia 76ers recently drafted Arsalan Kazemi, their first Iranian born player.   What advice would you give him about being an Iranian sports star playing in the US?

OH BUBBA YOU ASK EXCELLENT QUESTION. THE ARSALAN GOOD ATHLETE AND HE FROM THE IRAN MY FIRST HOME. I HOPE HE WORK HARD HE TRAIN HE BECOME ONE DAY IRON SHEIK CLASS. HE NEED TO SHOW ME THAT HE READY SO I CAN RESPECT HIM.

Which is your favorite Rocky movie?  If you were cast as Rocky's opponent, would you have put Rocky over? 

BUBBA I LOVE THE ROCKY LIKE I LOVE MY GOOD FRIEND THE ROCK. ALL THE MOVIE GOOD BECAUSE THEY FIGHT WITH THE HEART LIKE THE LEGEND

There is actually a statue of Rocky at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  If someone made an Iron Sheik jawn, where would it be? 

HAHA, BUBBA MY STATUE BE EVERYWHERE. BECAUSE I HAVE MY FANS IN EVERY CITY COAST TO COAST THEY KNOW ABOUT THE LEGEND. I LOVE THEM FOREVER BECAUSE THEY RESPECT ME.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776.   Which founding father do you think would make the best wrestler?  I’d go with Ben “The Body” Franklin.

HE GOOD GIMMICK MAN HE KNOW HOW TO TALK LIKE THE JESSE VENTURA. THEY KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS AND HOW TO MAKE THE PEOPLE LOVE THEM.

Do you like Philly Cheesesteaks?  Whiz, Provo, Swis or American?

OH I LOVE THAT SANDWHICH. I GET ONE WITH THE NASTY BOYS THEY SHOW ME. AMERICAN CHEESE MAKE ME HAPPY

Smh. Provo or Whiz were the only acceptable answers. I’ll let that slide, since it’s still better than Ben Revere’s first steak.

So Ock, besides wrestling, do you follow any other sports?  Are you a fan of any of the Philly teams?

I LOVE ALL THE SPORTS. I LOVE THE BASKETBALL THE PHILADEPLHIA PLAYER THE SPENCER HAWES HE RESPECT ME AND I LOVE HIM FOREVER. I LOVE THE FOOTBALL AND THE HOCKEY.

Lighting Round:  I’m going to list the name of some prominent Philadelphia entertainers and athletes, and you tell me whether or not they’re The Real.  

Boys II Men

HALF AND HALF

Will Smith

THE REAL

Roy Halladay

THE REAL

Donovan McNabb

THE VIRGIL

Coal Hammels

HE NO GOOD JABRONI PUNK. I DON’T LIKE HIM I DON’T RESPECT HIM BECAUSE HE THINK HE BIG DEAL I CAN BREAK HIS NECK PUT HIM IN CAMEL CLUTCH MAKE HIM HUMBLE.  F THE COAL HAMMELS

OK, that was the greatest moment in the history of our great sport and probably the highlight of my life.

Now, some readers may not know this:  You’ve taken to IndieGogo to fundraise for a documentary about your life.  What’s your goal with releasing the documentary?   

I WORK WITH MY AGENTS TO I PUT TOGETHER MY LIFE MOVIE. THIS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE THE PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ALL ABOUT IRON SHEIK. THEY KNOW ONLY WRESTILNG SIDE. THIS WAY NO MY TIME TO LET THE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE LEGEND

You've raised a nice chunk of change so far, how does it make you feel to see so many wrestling fans that want to give back to you?

OH EXCELLENT. I LOVE MY WRESTLING FANS I LOVE MY TWITTER FANS. THEY SUPPORT ME AND THEY LET ME SPEAK WITH THE HEART. THIS WAY NOW MY TIME TO SHARE WITH THEM AND RESPECT THEM IRON SHEIK CLASS

The wrestling industry doesn't provide a lot of help or support for wrestlers once their career ends, do you think fundraising projects like this are a good way to help former wrestling superstars get by?

BUBBA, WRESTLING TOUGHEST SPORT. WE ON THE ROAD 300 DAY A YEAR WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELF ONLY WAY TO SAVE. NO TIME OFF BECAUSE YOU GET HURT YOU LOSE YOUR JOB. THIS WAY VERY DIFFICULT. I THINK ALL THE WORKERS NEED TO BE SMART THEY KNOW ONE DAY THEY HAVE TO BE SMART. NOW I HOPE THE FANS REMEMBER ME AND THEY HELP ME SO I DON’T BE FORGOTTEN.

What's next for you after the documentary?  

WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE CALL THEY WANT TO WORK WITH THE LEGEND BUT I NOT IN GOOD SHAPE I NEED TO GET BETTER SO THE PEOPLE CAN SEE MORE OF THE IRON SHEIK

Everyone knows I'm a legend on twitter, but am I Iron Sheik class yet?  If not, how can I put myself over?

BUBBA YOU ARE A LEGEND BECAUSE YOU RESPECT THE LEGEND. THAT IS THE #1 RULE. AFTER THAT YOU RESPECT YOURSELF YOU ALWAYS BE HUMBLE YOU ALWAYS SHOW THE PEOPLE YOU ARE THE REAL. THIS WAY YOU BECOME #1. IF YOU DON’T YOU ARE BIG TIME JABRONI DON’T WASTE MY TIME

You can help finance The Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story by donating here.

The Sheik is offering a variety of perks, but more importantly, the funds raised will allow Sheik to have ankle and knee surgery that will allow The Sheik to get back on his feet and pursue career opportunities.

Thanks to Magen Boys Entertainment for giving Sheik the chance to be interviewed by the voice of Philadelphia.   My inner 8 year old is marking out.

Previously: FanSince09's Lunch with Sixers CEO Adam Aron: A Troll's Remorse

You can follow FanSince09 on Twitter here. Photoshops by @_magowan, @ThePhilaPanda and @ZooWithRoy

Eagles-Redskins 5 things: One-side rivalry and it's getting ugly

Eagles-Redskins 5 things: One-side rivalry and it's getting ugly

Eagles (5-7) vs. Redskins (6-5-1)
1 p.m. on FOX
Eagles +2.5

With a 5-7 record, the Eagles may be all but eliminated from postseason contention, although if they're not going to the playoffs, at least they can take a division rival down with them.

At 6-5-1, the Washington Redskins still have a shot at the playoffs, but a loss at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday could prove devastating to their cause. And while playing the role of spoiler might not be what the Eagles had in mind at this point in the year, should they manage to come away with the win, their own slim hopes aren't necessarily finished just yet.

In other words, there's plenty left to play for this week. That, plus an opportunity to reverse some disturbing trends should be motivation enough.

1. It's getting ugly
The fact that the Eagles enter Sunday mired in a three-game losing streak is only part of the problem. It's how they're losing.

The Eagles have actually dropped seven of their last nine, but at one point, they were at least competitive. Their first four defeats were all by a touchdown or less, or an average just under five points per game. None of the last three have been particularly close however, and the disparity has only gotten worse — by 11 against the Seattle Seahawks, by 14 to the Green Bay Packers and by 18 to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Most distressing during that span is the lack of offensive production by the Eagles, averaging exactly 14 points per game during the streak and topping out at 15 in Seattle. Their previous low score this season was 20.

It's getting late in the year, when fatigue and injuries can take their toll on a young, thin roster, which is what's happening here. Regardless, the Eagles need to show some signs of life this week, before this season spirals completely out of control

2. One-sided rivalry
Though these NFC East foes meet twice per season, you have to go back more than two full calendar years to find the last time the Eagles were victorious in the series.

The last time the Eagles defeated Washington was in September 2014 in a thrilling 37-34 tilt at the Linc. Since then, the Redskins have taken ownership of the rivalry, winning four straight matchups for the first time since 1985-87.

The current streak has been especially depressing however, as it's also served to eliminate the Eagles from postseason contention each of the past two seasons. While that wouldn't be the case this time around in any technical sense, a loss would make a playoff berth almost impossible to secure.

If nothing else, the Eagles are playing for pride Sunday. After all, nobody wants to let an opponent they see twice a year secure the kind of bragging rights Washington holds now.

3. Anomaly or cause for concern?
Last time these two teams met, the Eagles authored one of their worst defensive performances of the season. 26 first downs and 493 yards of total offense surrendered remain season highs, although perhaps most alarming was the way the unit was gashed on the ground.

Washington ran for 230 yards in the 27-20 win, as Matt Jones racked up 135 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries with a long gain of 57 to pace the offense, while Robert Kelley ripped off a 45-yarder as well. As inconsistent as they are, this was very unlike the Eagles. Only three other opponents have even gone over the century mark against this group, so it's one thing they generally do well.

The question is whether the Eagles were merely having a bad day, as they are prone to do, or if Washington exploited something. Defensive tackle Bennie Logan was injured in the second quarter, a huge blow to the run defense — although it was struggling before that happened.

One thing is certain, and that is the Eagles can't let anything like it happen again on Sunday. All three games this season in which the defense gave up over 150 yards on the ground have resulted in losses.

4. Can't stop, won't stop?
It's official: Kirk Cousins has the Eagles' number. Not only does Washington's franchise quarterback hold a 3-1 record in the series, but he's carved up his division rival with surgical precision while doing it.

Cousins had a ho-hum day in their first meeting this season, completing 18 of 34 passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His line over four games is far more impressive, as he's averaging 336.3 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Meanwhile, Cousins has not experienced quite such loft success against the rest of the NFC East, with a combined record of 3-7 against the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. He's played particularly poor against the Giants, throwing for fewer total yards than he has against Eagles in one less game, with five touchdowns to eight picks. It definitely seems like an Eagles thing.

And Cousins' game is likely continue to be successful against this Eagles defense. He likes to get the ball out of his hands quickly, which this secondary really struggles against, and he has the receivers to do it. Even in a losing effort, his numbers should look pretty good.

5. A peek at the standings
As unlikely the playoffs may be, the Eagles have a shot if they can turn their fortunes around against Washington.

If either the Atlanta Falcons or Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose Sunday, the Eagles can be no worse than one game back of the NFC's sixth and final playoff berth. That doesn't begin to delve into any tiebreakers, and as many as five teams could still be ahead in line for that spot — including Washington — but it would be a start.

Do the Eagles even belong in the playoffs? Would they honestly have a chance if they made it? Would missing out this season and getting a higher draft pick be better for the franchise anyway? Those are questions for another column.

All we're saying is there's a chance.

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

Eagles-Redskins predictions by our (cough) experts

The Eagles (5-7) come into Sunday's game against the Redskins (6-5-1) on a three-game losing streak.

The Redskins exposed the Eagles' defense the last time these two teams met almost two months ago on Oct. 16.

Here are our (cough) expert predictions for this Week 14 matchup.

Dave Zangaro (4-8)
After losing three straight games, I couldn't pick the Eagles against just about any team in the NFL. Maybe Cleveland. Maybe Chicago. 

But against Washington? Nah. Can't do it. 

Sure, I know Washington comes into the Linc on a two-game losing streak, and they're clearly not a top team in the NFC. It just doesn't matter. Kirk Cousins is a decent quarterback and Washington clearly has enough weapons to shred the Eagles like they did for 493 yards in the first meeting. 

For the Eagles' offense, Carson Wentz hasn't looked good in a long time and this week he enters with a few of his skill position players banged up. 

This looks like another loss to me. 

Washington 26, Eagles 20

Derrick Gunn (5-7)
The Eagles are an embarrassed, desperate team, and a win over the Redskins could lift the weight of what has been a downward spiral. Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews returned to practice this week, but can they jolt this offense back to life? Carson Wentz has played like a rookie the last three games, and the once stout defense has crumbled.

So here come the Redskins, losers of two in a row but still very much in the playoff conversation. The Redskins' defense is beat up and could be missing several key players, but unfortunately for the Eagles, Washington's offensive weapons are relatively healthy, except for tight end Jordan Reed, who's listed as questionable with an AC joint sprain. Matt Jones and Robert Kelley pack a punch out of the backfield. 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been in a zone. Over their last six games, Cousins has averaged 352.6 passing yards, plus he's thrown 12 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. 

The Eagles remember what Washington did to them back in Week 6, but I feel their revenge motives will fall short.

Redskins 27, Eagles 17

Ray Didinger (5-7) 
With all the talk this week about effort and players dogging it, I fully expect the Eagles to come out focused and fired up at home Sunday. Here's the problem: I just don't know if they are good enough to win the game. Motivation is one thing, but talent is another and right now, the Eagles are lacking in that area.
 
The players have been called out by their coach, by the media and by the fans so if they have any pride at all they will come out and play hard against the Redskins but I look at the matchup of this Eagles' secondary against the Washington receivers — especially a hot DeSean Jackson (25.3 yards per catch the last three games) — and I don't see a happy result.
 
Redskins 24, Eagles 17

Andrew Kulp (6-6)
Not sure if the Eagles really are in freefall mode or if they've simply been unable to overcome injuries while facing some better than advertised opponents. Either way, they have plenty to play for, because Washington has been embarrassing them for awhile now. With Jordan Matthews back and against a less than stellar D, I predict an end to the losing streak, so long as they finally come up with an answer for Kirk Cousins.

Eagles 26, Redskins 24

Corey Seidman (5-7)
Close game, better performance from Carson Wentz and an awakening in the run game, but not enough defensive talent to shut down what Washington will try to do deep with DeSean Jackson and Jamison Crowder, over the middle with Jordan Reed and short with Pierre Garcon.

Redskins 31, Eagles 27

Andy Schwartz (5-7)
It's simply come to this. I can't pick the Eagles to win a game the rest of the season until they do.

I want to think the offense will benefit from the return of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Matthews. And I want to think the defense will play with desperation and break out of its "slump" and make some big plays.

But I won't believe it until I see it.

Redskins 24, Eagles 16